Part two of the speaking test contains three questions. The first asks you to deliver a speech limited to two minutes. The second and third questions are quick follow-up questions (related to the speech topic) that can usually be answered very quickly.

These questions ask test-takers to describe an event, object or place. These can be from the past, present, future or hypothetical.

Once the two minutes starts, the examiner will not speak unless you can no longer continue. You do not have to speak for the entire two minutes, but if your speech finishes too soon, you will be marked down.

You do not have to answer all parts of the question you are given. Only the first sentence is mandatory:

Although the questions for part three are more difficult, it is usually part two that really damages a test-taker’s score. Far too often test-takers speak in only one tense and repeat basic mistakes throughout the two minutes. The examiner will not award higher than a 5 if you do this.

To avoid this common problem you should learn a speaking strategy (such as the one on this speaking course) that helps you use a range of tenses and easily continue speaking for two minutes.

Also remember, IELTS is not an interview, so you DO NOT have to answer truthfully. The examiner is only interested in the quality of your English responses. For this reason it is a good idea to practice answering questions twice; once with a true answer and once with an invented response.

Describe a gift you gave to someone that took you a long time to choose.

You should say:

what the gift was

who you gave this gift to

how the person felt about this gift

and explain why it took you a long time to choose this gift.

Describe a person you know who has learned to speak a foreign language well.

You should say:

what foreign language he/she speaks

how often he/she uses this language

what he/she uses this language for

and explain how you think this person learned to speak this language so well.

Describe a time when a child did something that made you laugh.

You should say:

who the child was

what the child did

where and when this happened

and explain what this child did that made you laugh.

Describe a place – not your home – where you go to relax.

You should say:

where the place is

what the place looks like

– how you spend your time in this place 

and explain why this place helps you to relax.

Describe some paid work that you or someone you know enjoyed doing.

You should say:

what the work was

when and where you/the person you know did the work

how long you /the person you know did this work

and explain why this work was enjoyable

Describe an historic building you enjoyed visiting.

You should say:

– where the historic building was

what the historic building was used for

why you visited it

and explain what you enjoyed about visiting this historic building.

Describe a time when you and a friend disagreed about something.

You should say:

what you disagreed about

why you disagreed

what happened as a result of the disagreement

and explain how you felt about having this disagreement.

Describe a machine or something electronic you would like to buy.

You should say:

what it is

how you know about it

what special features you would like it to have

and explain why you would like to buy it.

Describe the stage in your life which you have enjoyed most.

You should say: 

what stage it was

where you were living

what you were doing

and explain why you enjoyed this stage in your life so much

Describe a picture or photograph you have in your home that you like very much.

You should say:

– what the picture/photograph shows

where the picture/photograph is in your home

how you got this picture/photograph

and explain why you like this picture/photograph so much.

Describe an activity you do that helps you to keep fit. 

You should say:

– what the activity is

how often you do this activity

how easy or difficult it is to do this activity

and explain how important this activity is in helping you to keep fit 

Describe a cafe or a restaurant which you enjoy visiting.

You should say: 

where it is

what kind of food it serves

how often you go there

and explain why you enjoy visiting this cafe or restaurant.

Describe a successful small company that you know about.

You should say: 

what sort of work the company does 

how you know about this company 

what you know about it 

and explain why you think this company is successful.

Describe an educational visit or trip you went on when you were at school. 

You should say: 

where you went

what you did

what you learned

and explain how you felt about the educational visit or trip. 

Describe a time when you were very surprised to meet someone you know.

You should say: 

who you met

where and when you met this person

what you did when you met this person

and explain why it was such a surprise o meet this person.

Describe a change which you think would improve your local area.

You should say: 

– what the change would be 

– how this change could be made

– what problems there might be in making this change

and explain how you think this change would improve your local area.

Describe a team (for example sports, work) you have been part of.

You should say: 

what the team did

who was in the team 

when you became part of the team 

and explain why you became part of the team.

Describe an indoor game you enjoyed playing as a child

You should say: 

what the indoor game was

when you played the game 

who you played it with 

and explain why you enjoyed playing the indoor game. 

Describe a series of educational programmes that you have seen 

You should say: 

how you found out about this series

when and where you watched it 

what the series was about 

and explain what you liked or disliked in this educational television series. 

Describe an occasion when you remember getting up extremely early

You should say: 

what time you got up

why you had to get up so early 

what you did that morning 

and explain why you remember this occasion when you got up extremely early.

Describe a garden or park you enjoyed spending time in

You should say: 

where this garden or park was

what the park or garden looked like

what you did there 

and explain why you enjoyed spending time there 

Describe something you think it would be interesting to learn more about.

You should say: 

what it is 

how you first became interested in this

how you could learn more about it

and explain why you think it would be interesting to learn more about this.

Describe a special trip you would like to make in the future

You should say: 

where you want to go

who you would like to go with 

how you would prepare for the trip

and explain why this trip would be special. 

Describe something you bought that you were satisfied with.

You should say: 

what you bought 

where you bought it 

what is it used for

and explain why you felt satisfied with this purchase.

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